Clinical and histological sequelae of surgical complications in horizontal guided bone regeneration: a systematic review and proposal for management

Int J Implant Dent. 2020 Nov 26;6(1):76. doi: 10.1186/s40729-020-00274-y.


It is not uncommon to encounter post-surgical complications after horizontal guided bone regeneration (GBR). The primary aim of this review was to evaluate the incidence and types of complications that occur after horizontal GBR and propose management strategies to deal with these clinical situations. A secondary aim was to conduct a histomorphometric review of the wound healing process at sites that experienced post-surgical complications after GBR. A keyword search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for studies published in English from January 2015 to January 2020 was conducted for the primary aim and 23 studies were selected. A second search addressing the secondary aim was conducted, and five studies were included. Site-level analysis showed that the weighted mean incidence proportion of minor wound dehiscence and minor infections occurring at the augmented site was 9.9% [95% CI 6.4, 13.9, P < 0.01] and 1.5% [95% CI 0.4, 3.1, P = 0.21) respectively. Patient-level analysis showed minor and major complications occurring at a weighted mean incidence proportion of 16.1% [95% CI 11.9, 20.8, P = 0.01] and 1.6% [95% CI 0.0, 4.7, P < 0.01] respectively, while neurosensory alterations at the donor site was 7.0% [95% CI 1.3, 15.5, P < 0.01]. Subgroup analysis also revealed that the use of block grafts increased the incidence proportion of minor post-surgical complications, whereas a staged GBR procedure increased the incidence proportion of both minor and major post-surgical complications. Although exposure of the barrier membrane is often associated with less bone regeneration and graft resorption, the type of membrane used (resorbable or non-resorbable) had no statistically significant influence on any post-surgical complication. Histologically, a layer of fibrous connective tissue instead of bone is commonly observed at the interface between the native bone at the recipient site and the regenerated bone in cases with membrane exposure after GBR procedure. Minor wound dehiscence was the highest incidence proportion of post-surgical complications. Methods ranging from daily application of antiseptics, use of systemic antimicrobials, regular reviews, and total removal of the non-integrated biomaterials are commonly prescribed to manage these post-surgical complications in attempt to minimise the loss of tissue at the surgical site.

Keywords: Bone regeneration; Bone transplantation; Complications; Histology; Wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review